How is IOP Different from Residential Treatment Options?

Residential treatment facilities provide 24-hour care for those individuals who require constant supervision and care for severe disorders. For instance, some addiction situations call for a detoxification process to be undertaken. Detoxification can be very dangerous, depending on the substance involved, and on-going medical supervision is called for.

Residential treatment is also appropriate when individuals need to be removed from their daily lives and surroundings. This change can afford them the ability stay away from strong triggers and counterproductive home environments that may be hampering their ability to get better.

Residential treatment centers typically include the availability of multiple levels of care, including clinical psychologists, psychiatrists for medication management, and other supportive therapists. Oftentimes, the different types of care need to be closely coupled and coordinated over a period of time.

Residential treatment is typically the most expensive choice for people working through substance use issues. As a result, it can be prohibitive for many individuals. If 24/7 monitoring is not required, IOPs can offer a great alternative. IOPs can also be coupled with other levels of care, including working through partial hospitalization, medication management, and detoxification.

In fact, some studies have found that intensive outpatient programs can offer similar results to residential programs.  According to a study by Radosta, M., “…recipients of traditional outpatient treatment had better social functioning at follow-up, as evidenced by increased attendance at work, higher earnings, and fewer family and social conflicts.”  This can be attributed to the fact that IOPs allow an individual to continue to live in their homes and take advantage of family and friends for support, while participating in treatment. Whereas, residential programs extract an individual from their lives and may create a false and unrealistic environment. When patients return to their regular lives, they may find the transition to be too abrupt. That’s another reason why IOPs are often seen as a transition plan for those leaving residential treatment.

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